Account of the Manufactures carried out at Aylesbury and the Processes employed by the Natives in Linking and Spray-Painting Car Radio Components Alistair Noon
The windows grime-gems in the roofing. Works and management pool the canteen, demarcate their basins. The Job rocks up like a truckload of sand, the alloyed brackets duned in the dangling skip that Louis swings with his knuckle-chunk hands, in his Danube overalls and silvery Budapest quiff, decouples and drops with a crash. Then he breaks for a smoke with the little old bloke from Aerials in Hungarian, German, Ukrainian and Polish. We speak the lot, their English cackles. Rashid is stalking along all sullen and silent in his grey works coat, his smile ever closer to obsolescence. Anna and the Italians hold their all-day skills session in blue aprons, below-knee skirts and carpety slippers. Mary grabs the next batch from the skip, unleashes the tray, and the future radios gush out, like a shift departing the far glass doors. The craft is to hitch them like moulded planes from a ceiling, hook by hook, morning to evening – though tonight we have overtime, Saturday and Sunday till four – or mask up and hang the hooked components at the front of a dryer the size and shape of a dustcart, each wobbling tower of metal a team of roped-up climbers about to enter a crevasse. We evenly spray them with snow in the seconds before they vanish, then rescue them off the far end. I got the job through the Old Boys' network, Andy Riley's dad was the head of HR. Fringe benefits: the jokes and the chats, the crisp and opaque pay packets, the advent calendar of the punch clock.
Alistair Noon's publications include two books published in 2015, The Kerosene Singing (Nine Arches Press) and Surveyors' Riddles (collaboration with Giles Goodland, Sidekick Books). He lives in Berlin.